Report from New York police chaplain

 Fr John Freund CM forwarded this from a Halifax Sister of Charity based in New York. "I am a police chaplain for the NYPD in New York. On Tuesday afternoon, Sr Grazyna and I were escorted by police to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge where we were given vests, hard hats and masks. We stayed with the triage set up for police and fire persons and were prepared to go into the morgue with relatives to ID bodies. Unfortunately there were no bodies. As all know now that was a very tragic sign. After several hours we were escorted back to the command centre in Brooklyn and we went home to be on call. On Wednesday, both Grazyna and I were assigned to two different posts on Staten Island for grief counselling purposes. This took a greater part of our day. Thursday, Manresa was designated a centre for both fire and police persons' relatives. Three of our staff members volunteered services to help along with the persons designated by the fire and police departments. A very strong feeling of fear pervades over us as the whole of Staten Island was in effect put into "lock down" on Thursday as police swarmed all over the roads and with helicopters in pursuit of a suspect. One has no control, only the control of attitude, then you force yourself to go on listening. There are things I could almost not hear, they were so horrific. One policeman said what shook him the most were the empty shoes found all over the ten block area.! It is an amazing grace we receive to continue to say yes - I see it in the firemen and women, the police, the people of New York, and in us, the chaplains. I am also deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve as a Sister of Charity. The only piece of clothing I could think of wearing is my Susqui Shirt with 'Standing in the Fire of Charity ' on it. This afternoon, (Sunday) I have been asked to go to Ground Zero with Rabbi Berkowitz (He is Head of Chaplains) and Sr Kathleen O'Donnell, on the 2-8pm shift. Sr Grazyna will come with me too. So, Ground Zero will be covered by the Sisters of Charity, Halifax. How fitting that as one stands on the shore line, you first see our Mother Seton Chapel and then the empty smoke filled space. She is still leading her people." Sr Maureen Skelly Sister of Charity, Halifax

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